The Spatha, in its many iterations, was the naval workhorse of the Turian Hierarchy for more than a millennium. Originally designed by engineers on Palaven during the Unification War, the Spatha became immensely popular due to its lifting body design that allowed it to coast through a planet's atmosphere as easily as a fighter, and the later introduction of mass effect field generators and a limited FTL drive for long-range assaults made it the lynchpin of the Navy as an incredibly versatile craft.
The Spatha is mainly used for the rapid insertion and extraction of troops, as well as providing tactical aerial support. The craft is also capable of delivering vehicles and vital equipment to the battlefield when required, thanks to magnetic clamps along the aft overhang. As a multi-role aircraft, it is fully capable of both atmospheric and space flight and can land almost anywhere without difficulty, giving the Hierarchy the ability to insert strike teams or platoons anywhere on a planet from an orbital transport.
The standard armament of a Spatha are the twin weapon pods on either side of the bow, which can retract the swiveling mounts to protect them when they aren't in use, as well as allow for an engineer inside to repair and re-arm them. The usual compliment are a pair of rotary chain guns equipped with a rotary heat sink system that disperses the heat out in the opposite direction from the gun's firing, though they can also be equipped with rotary cannons, rocket launchers, or even small GARDIAN lasers. Accompanying this are a pair of missile launchers hidden along the spine that can fire a wide variety of payloads, mainly anti-fighter smart missiles meant to overcome the relative slow speed of the dropship.
The main engines of a Spatha are mounted in pairs in four nacelles, one on each wing and two at the rear. The nacelles can articulate independently, thus vectoring the direction of thrust and improving the dropship's low altitude maneuverability. The armor of the boat is further complimented by the ship's kinetic barriers, which can be turned on and off to switch between maneuverability and defense.
Sadly, despite its long lineage, the Spatha has started to be supplanted by the smaller A-61 Mantis Gunship and UT-47 Kodiak Drop Shuttle as more cost-effective alternatives to the relatively bulky and sizeable Spatha. The room a Spatha takes up in a hangar can be occupied by two Mantises or three Kodiaks, and each Kodiak can carry about as many troops as a Spatha, and each Mantis can carry as many weapons as a Spatha, but both only need a pilot each instead of a two-to-three-person crew. However, the Spatha still remains a boat that any Hierarchy Naval pilot is required to know how to fly.